Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Temptation Tuesday

Chocolate Ganache Recipe

I love chocolate ganache because it is super simple to make and looks sooooo fancy.

Here's how I do it:

I take:

 one bag of chocolate chips (12 oz.)
1 cup of sour cream
and add one shot glass of grand marnier

Put the chocolate in the microwave and heat until melted, then add the sour cream, blend until smooth and add in the grand marnier.

Let it cool a bit to thicken and then simply pour over your cake. Wah-lah fancy-pants pretty cake.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mouthwatering Monday

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cheesecake

Creamy Baked Cheesecake

1 1/4 c crushed Oreo cookies
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c butter melted
2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
1/4 c lemon juice
1 (8 oz) sour cream

Preheat oven to 300 egrees. Combine Oreo cookie crumbs, sugar and butter and press into bottom of springform pan

In mixer combine cheese and beat until fluffy. Add in sweetened condensed milk, eggs and lemon juice. Pour into pan and bake for 55 minutes or until set. Cool and chill before pouring ganache over the top then decorate with raspberries and left over cookies :D

I wanted to make a chocolate cheesecake and didn't want the crust to distract from the look so I used Oreo cookies for the crust. I wrapped the pan in foil so I could bake it in a water bath. The foil was to keep the water from seeping into the pan. And the water bath was to help the cheesecake release easily from the spring form pan.  It worked too. The cake popped out perfectly.

It all started Friday when I was talking with a gfriend about cheesecake. She used to bake for Moonstruck Chocolates and came up with a few winning recipes on her own. So that got us talking about recipes and what we like in cakes and cookies.

I thought "everything's better with chocolate" so . . . that got me thinking about chocolate ganache and I added a little Grand Marnier to the frosting. To top it off, I added a few red raspberries.

But then I got carried away and added more raspberries and a few cookies. I thought I might as well make it more fun with a smiley face using the cookies for hair :D My husband said next time I should use a little Rum...hum...that sounds good too.

The Chocolate Grand Marnier Cheesecake was super yummy but super rich too. So, now I'd better go for a run :D


Artichokes have great nutritional value. They aid in digestion, strengthening of the liver function and gall bladder function, and raise HDL/LDL ratio. They also reduce cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol, lower blood cholesterol and more. But besides being good for you they are also beautiful. If you let them flower they are striking - just look at them.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Body Blocking...Come on

So Thursday morning I was running to work - the route I always run. I just happen to run over a bridge and on the downhill side I run through a "seamy" side of town. But, like I said, this is a route I always run and I've never had a problem until today.

This guy jumped in my way, trying to block me. I tried to shift to the side - but he did too. And, I was going fast! For me, I was going super fast and I couldn't quite stop. I raised my arm and sort of body checked the guy. I wasn't thinking, I was just reacting. He wasn't hurt, I barely touched him, because as my arm connected with his chest. I pulled back. He was like, "Exxxxcussse ME!" But what the heck did he expect? Body Blocking a runner going at full speed...?!

It put a damper on my day...

Have you ever had a similar experience?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cleaning out the Clutter

Clutter has a way of creeping its way into . . . everything. We do a little spring cleaning to declutter the living space but what about decluttering our mind...? It's not always so easy to remember to set aside some time to clean things out up there. The best way to do it is to give yourself some space...and I mean some time to run through your thoughts and organize your projects inside your mind.

We all get busy in the hustle and bustle of every day life but we have to remember to take a little "time-out" for ourselves--if we want to have a mental health break--remember you can't always be busy... You need some down time to unwind.

So, how do you unwind, declutter and destress your life?

I run....and run....and run... it gives me time to think all by myself and plan out my day before I even go to work. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Contagion - Movie Review

I wanted to see Contagion when it came out but never got around to going to see it. It has an all-star cast with Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Gweneth Paltrow and more.

It seemed like a plausible premise but the show was a little slow for me. I think it's worth watching and enjoyed the way it made me think "wash your hands," "wash your hands," "wash your hands"!
But I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in the theater.

There was one point I thought was over-acted. It was when the doctor was talking to Matt Damon about his wife dying. I thought he suddenly flipped-out and although Matt is a wonderful actor that part stands out in my mind as Mwha...

So, have you seen it...? What did you think?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pants too tight?

How 'bout using some fun fabric to fix the problem and go retro at the same time?

Back in the 60s we used to make skirts and pants with extra fabric in the inserts - it looks like everything old is new again...and why not? It's fun to add some wacky fabric that expresses the inner self...right?

Well this is a carpenter - "sew" what could be more perfect than a fabric insert that looks like a tape measure?

Fun fabric to fix the too tight fit.

Plus it's being sustainable. Why waste a good pair of pants that just needs a little help to fit properly?
No need.

If you are a quilter - you could think of piecing the pattern together to create a work of art...

And these pants make me smile. So much fun in one little piece - okay maybe two - pieces of fabric. :D

Friday, July 20, 2012

Favorite Stories from My Childhood

When I was little, growing up in a house with nine kids, grandma and Mom and Dad, it was always a full house. And, we only had one t.v. I think it was black and white - for years. We couldn't afford luxuries like . . . even boxed cereal. We sat down at the table, ripped up a piece of bread, poured some sugar and milk over it and Wah-Lah that was our home-made cereal. So...with only one t.v. and twelve people, I rarely got to pick what show we would watch. That's why I read, and read, and read. My favorites were the Oz stories. I read them over and over again. Then I graduated up to horror with Stephen King, Dean Koontz and more.

How 'bout you? Why did you start reading? When was your ah-ha moment? Reading was more fun than just about anything. And what were your favorite books?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Urban Farm

I'm always looking for local companies to support and Friends of Zenger Farm is a non-profit urban farm and wetland  in southeast Portland dedicated to promoting sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship and local economic development through a working urban farm. What could be better?

Zenger Farm combines a 10-acre wetland and6-acre organic farming operation to provide unique experiential learning opportunities for youth, farmers and families in subjects such as sustainable agriculture, wetland ecology, food security, healthy eating and local economic development.

So if you're looking for a local business that promotes sustainability, here it is Zenger Farm

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stepping Outside the Box

When we were young(er), my husband and I used to love to perform. He had his music and I loved to act. In high school I was in all the plays. Then when we got married, we did a few dinner theater performances together. So it wasn't so surprising when an old friend called and asked him if he'd like to play a part in Arsenic & Old Lace. The surprising part was having my hubby play the evil serial killer in the plot . . .

So, if you're going to be in Portland in August (17-18 or 24-25) come and see a dark but humorous story about a family of serial killers in Arsenic & Old Lace

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Role Models for Young Girls

I was watching a tennis match on Saturday and said to my husband, "Those girls are beautiful." He said, "Who cares?" I told him, "I do. And, I wish people would focus more on healthy looking beautiful young women as role models rather than . . . the girls/women the media focuses so much of their time on."

Serena Williams is a model beautiful, strong, athletic woman who swings with everything she's got and is not afraid of competing out on the court. And her opponent was just as striking :D: Nicole Gibbs.

I would love to hear more and see more women who inspire girls to get out there and be fit, fabulous and ferocious without being cruel, condescending or sleazy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quilt Show in Sisters Oregon

I thought I'd share a few photos from the Sisters Quilt Show. There were over 1400 quilts on display and they were hanging from every building, nook and cranny anyone could find a spot to pin up a blanket. It was awe...mazing. Here are a few that caught my eye.

These were from the Peter Pan Challenge:

But there were quilts of every shape, size and design that you could imagine. Some were appliqued, some were hand-sewn, others were machine quilted.

 Some had appliques popping out of the picture.
Others just popped with color
Some represented origami or different cultures
 And this one - above - had puppies hidden in the design.
Some just reminded me of my childhood. I did a needlepoint of these houses when I was little.
 Some were just full of pretty colors
Some had 3-Dimensional designs
Others focused on animals
 Still others reminded me of my Grandma and Christmas
Others were patriotic

Some had amazing quilting done in the borders. You might not even notice if you didn't look closely.

Some buildings had so many hanging on them and in them, you could barely catch sight of them all.

 Some had quilting that actually made the design look like fur.
 Some just had fun designs
There were wild, wild west themes with cowboys and horses

And some with interesting stories behind them. 
 Some were just fun, with googly eyes and fun borders that matched the design.

 Some were dark but beautiful - like this one that talked about forest fires

Some featured flowers
Some had the moons and stars or sun
 Some birds or music or both
 Quilts had embroidery, appliques and fancy stitching.
 These flowers were embroidered

 There were quilts with pictures of the beach
And everywhere people milled about peeking at the handiwork

 There were boats and baby blankets
Crazy quilts
 Show themed fun

 And nature inspired stories
Some were made of wool, felt, and flannel
Others used recycled fabric, cotton and even hankies. I couldn't begin to show all of the quilts

 Some had cats
 And luckily the streets were closed to cars
 There were fall inspired quilts
Nursery Rhyme blocks

 Holiday inspired patchwork - with Christmas and Easter and even the Mexican Day of the Dead

 Halloween and witches

Even aliens were hanging around

 Some had really cute appliques
Others were just really cute

 People sat wherever they could find a perch, porch or patio seat

 And of course I had to buy a quilting kit. Mine should be done in time for Christmas - I hope
It will help us all have a Merry Grinchmas!

My gfriend Cristy (who went to the quilt show with me) said she would help me if I happen to get stuck

And she's a fabulous quiltress so hopefully mine will turn out.

Plus, while we were at the quilt show, Cristi got to drive a $17k sewing machine

And we took a peek at the Men Behind the Quilt Show.

Sew that's how I spent my Saturday. How 'bout you - what did you do?